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OTTAWA — Hackers are penetrating the national power grid, say industry insiders who want the federal government to act.
"We certainly know from our customers that their systems have been infiltrated. It's been going on for some time," said Doug Westlund, president of N-Dimension Solutions, a Richmond Hill, Ont. cyber security company that works with North American utilities.
"I can't tell you who they are, but they're close to home for sure."
Westlund, whose company is part of a research project sponsored by the United States Department of Energy to protect the emerging digital "smart grid" against cyber attacks, likened the incidents to a covert penetration and reconnaissance of the U.S. system in 2009.
Those cyberspies also reportedly embedded software in utilities' computers that could have disrupted future service. Officials speculate either Russia or China was responsible.
Westlund said the Canadian intrusions appear to have been to navigate the systems and their controls, not to embed malicious codes.